Welcome back review fans, to another edition of A Roll of The Dice. This week I will be reviewing the up and coming card game, Dragon Punch which will be on kickstarter very, very soon. I want to start just by thanking Koen Hendrix for the amazing copy to review, and I hope this review does it justice.
I want to start by asking the readers a question. Have you EVER, even just once in your life wanted to roundhouse kick your best friends? If you answered yes, this is the game for you. If you answered no, then you are lying, and this is still the game for you.
Dragon Punch brings Martial Arts games like Street Fighter to life, all while giving a lot of fun in a short span of time. The game is a strategy game which plays in about 15 minutes, but of course you need to plan for shorter or a bit longer if you are both master strategists. In my case, most games were about 10 minutes, with one ending quicker because I had to try a kamikaze strategy. This will not usually work, so for god sakes don’t follow my ideas. The game itself only consists of 21 cards which may make you shake your head and wonder why you would want it, for me it made me want it so much more. How many card games do you have that can fit in a pocket, go with you anywhere, and still have a lot of fun with? You won’t even notice the ninja butt kicking power that is being held in your pocket, until you unleash the Dragon (Punch).
Alright, let’s review this beast!
DESIGN – 9
First off, love the design. I know they are going for a cartoon style Street Fighter (They even admit this fact on their kickstarter) but it works perfectly for the style of game it is. The funky characters and moves you get to check out are really well done, and above that you can tell they put a lot of thought into the easiest way to make the game compact, while keeping a lot of skill needed in it. The card art itself is really fun, and I would easily keep my eye out for this artist. I feel he will be making more game art for the next few years at least. All in all for a card game, it is one of the better art styles for my own taste that I have seen.
REPLAY VALUE – 8
The game itself is awesome, and you do get to choose your character and moves from a set amount (remember the 21 cards) which is fun and fast. I know this is meant to be a quick game which is why I am not too upset with the fact that sometimes it can get a little stale. Now wait a tick, I am not saying that it is not fun, I am just saying using the same moves over and over is not always the best. This really only becomes and issue if you are constantly playing with the same person, as it takes away the strategy component when you learn each others tactics. For a game with so few cards, it is still great in the replay department, just not with the same 2-3 people playing every time. If you use this game as a filler between your 1-2 hour long sessions, it fits perfectly.
FUN FACTOR – 10
Any game in which I can kick someone in the face (figuratively or literally) is an amazing game in my book. Any game in which I can toss insults at my friends while doing it is even better. The best part of this game is feeling like you are playing Street Fighter, talking trash to your best friend while he is just getting creamed. There is no button mashing aspect to the game (how would you even do that? No idea myself, get on it Koen) but the planning can still fall through to a new player, as sometimes the randomness of your opponent can land you against the metaphorical ropes. This game makes you answer the question that all games should. Are you man/woman enough to finish the job? In our case, we feel that yes, we all were.
Let’s see what the creators had for themselves!
1) Where did the idea for this game come from?
I’d been toying with a fighting-game-inspired card game for a while, but was having a hard time making it stand out. Games like Yomi and BattleCON already do a great job of capturing that fighting game feeling.
So when the 18-Card Microgame Contest came along on BoardGameGeek last year, I thought I’d try making a micro fighting game. At the same time I heard about Oddball Aeronauts, a game played entirely in your hand. Everything just started clicking together from there: Fighting game + micro size + playable anywhere = Dragon Punch!
2) What are your top three favourite games of all time?
I love how modern boardgames have stepped out the familiar ‘every man for himself’ territory. Overlord-style games allow beginners to join in, without dumbing things down for the other players. Traitor games bring a great social dynamic; I’m always up for The Resistance, or if we’ve got the time Battlestar Galactica. Nothing like a bit of paranoia and false accusations to spice up game night!
An older game that I still like is Reiner Knizia’s Samurai. Really simple core mechanic, but with a very interesting victory condition. Great 30-minute game for beginners and hardcore gamers alike. And for sheer amount of accessible fun, it’s hard to beat Apples To Apples. We’ve had the big wooden crate edition for about 10 years and it still gets pulled of the shelf at a lot of parties.
Some current games I’m really looking forward to receiving are Star Wars Imperial Assault, Bomb Squad, and Catacombs 2nd edition.
3) If you had to describe your game in one sentence, what would it be?
A quick and tiny 2-player fighting game you can play anywhere!
4) Where can people get a copy/learn more information?
The Kickstarter page will tell you all you need to know: http://tiny.cc/DragonPunch
There are links to my social media pages there too. Feel free to shoot me a message about anything at all.
(The Kickstarter goes live on April 28th, which is now. GO GET SOME! – Adam)
5) Are there any particular challenges in designing a microgame?
From a game design standpoint, I don’t find microgames particularly challenging: the small size actually helps focus my design efforts. It’s by no means easier to design a microgame, but the physical restrictions make the explorable design space much smaller. So you’ll reach a “this works!” or “just can’t make this work” point faster, rather then endlessly patching and re-patching an idea in hopes of making it work.
From a publication standpoint it’s a bit more complicated. Because the total budget is so low, things like marketing become really expensive (relatively). If your game’s budget is $40.000 it’s not that bad to spend $500 on advertising or a professional video production. But if your entire budget is $4000 those things are just not feasible. Additionally, shipping costs are a relatively large part of your total cost, and those don’t scale down when your number of backers goes up.
On the plus side, small games are very easy to ship and store. I can send out a dozen prototypes without much hassle, and keep hundreds of copies at my home without it cluttering up my garage!
They advertise this game as a Street Fighter for cards, and you can believe it. It brings me all the way back to my old SNES days. I just want to say thanks again for the bundle of fun, I will be keeping an eye out for your kickstarter, and wish you all the best.
Please take a moment and vote on the following poll, and leave a comment if you feel things need to be changed. Thanks again, and I look forward to reviewing a lot more games in the future.